Where to turn for the best information about Zika

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Photo: CDCAedes aegypti

Photo: CDCAedes aegypti

We’ve gathered some of the best, most science-based resources to help reporters who are covering Zika or may find themselves covering the emerging disease as the seasons change.

The NLM Outreach and Specific Populations Branch sent out this extensive list of resources from a wide range of U.S. and international health organizations. It includes information for special populations, epidemiology, detection and diagnosis, travel and does include some information in Spanish.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have put together information on affected areas, transmission, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and more. Here are the travel advisories and information for health care professionals.

The World Health Organization described the virus as “spreading explosively” and could infect as many as 3 million to 4 million people within 12 months. Here is the WHO fact sheet.

The mosquitoes responsible for transmission of the disease, Aedes aegypti, are highly resilient, according to the CDC, and also are responsible for the spread of dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya.

The Mayo Clinic has information about microcephaly, which appears to be associated with Zika. One note for reporting on the link between Zika and microcephaly: WHO General Director Margaret Chan has said: “A causal relationship between Zika virus and birth malformations and neurological syndromes has not yet been established – this is an important point – but it is strongly suspected.” Here is the CDC’s information about microcephaly. Julia Belluz of Vox has some quick, important points about microcephaly.

Updated resources (Jan. 29):

Zika virus and microcephaly information from Contemporary OB/GYN (h/t Judith Orvos)

Zika Virus Health Information Resources from the NLM’s Disaster Information Management Research Center

Dr. Seema Yasmin, a staff writer at The Dallas Morning News and a professor of public health at the University of Texas at Dallas, has put together some things to keep in mind about reporting on Zika.

For the copy editors out there: “Zika” is capitalized because it is named for a forest just outside Uganda’s capital, Kampala, where it was first identified, according to The Associated Press.

Jenny Barchfield and Mike Stobbe of The Associated Press cover the research into the suspected link between Zika and microcephaly.

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy has compiled an extensive resource page with links to international health and government organizations, relevant people on Twitter and the most complete selection of studies and literature I’ve seen yet. There’s also a selection of news stories for background.

Volunteer physicians with WiRED International, a nonprofit organization that contributes to medical and health education in developing regions, have developed three training modules about Zika designed for grassroots populations (in English, Spanish and Portuguese), health care professionals (English and Portuguese) and pregnant women (English and Spanish).

On Feb. 1, the World Health Organization announced a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.”

What other resources should we add to this list? Add your suggestions in the comments.

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